Edward continued to gaze into my eyes as he waited for me to respond to his last words. I was speechless because I’d never dreamed he would ever utter those words to me. Only a few minutes ago, I had feared this was going to be the end for us.
To give me time to process what he had just said to me and what my reaction should be, I leaned closer to him and kissed Edward gently on the lips. He immediately responded by opening his mouth and deepening the kiss. His arms snaked around my waist and pulled me against his body. Did he really think this was my answer and I was going to make love to him here and now?
I was unsure exactly what was going through Edward’s mind. I knew I could not and would not take advantage of his vulnerability. We needed more time to talk about this afternoon’s events and, as much as I wanted us to make love, I knew we should wait a while yet. We needed more time to get to know each other, emotionally as well as physically, and I was prepared to wait for as long as it took. At the same time, I had to be so careful with my choice of words otherwise he might take them the wrong way. I definitely didn’t want to risk hurting Edward’s feelings anymore than I had already done today. What I said next to him could make or break our relationship.
I pulled away slightly and rested my forehead against his. Edward seemed desperate to continue and tried to kiss me again. I pulled back further and sat up away from him. Taking Edward’s hand in mine, I began to speak softly, “Edward, we need to talk first. Please listen to all I have to say before you react and please, please don’t take any of this the wrong way. I love you. I want us to make love soon. I really do, and I’m over the moon that you feel secure enough to ask me to make love to you. But I’m not going to make love to you today to try to prove how much I love you. I want to show you in other ways first that I care for you. I want our relationship to be more than just about sex and I want you to be able to trust me again.”
Edward listened intently, his pupils still wide with lust and need, and his breath came out in short gasps.
“Also, I don’t want to make love to you with a house full of people who could interrupt us at any moment. I want our first time together to be private and special, with no one eavesdropping. I want us to be able to make a lot of noise.” I almost growled the last sentence because it was so true.
Edward had looked disappointed as I began speaking but nodded in agreement, his eyes dropping to my lips. I hoped this wasn’t going to an entirely one-sided conversation—he seemed unusually quiet for him. At least he wasn’t kicking me out of the door just yet.
“I think we need to talk more about this afternoon and through some of those issues.” I changed the course of the conversation and hoped I’d get the chance to finish.
“What exactly did you want to bring up, hun?” he said rather coolly, pulling back a little, his chin pushing up slightly in defiance.
“Edward, you are the love of my life. I honestly believe I have finally found someone I want to spend the rest of my life. We are right for each other and you know me so well already. You knew something wasn’t right this afternoon, didn’t you? Before I even had a chance to say anything and you kept going until you got the truth out of me. I can’t tell you how glad I am that you didn’t believe the lies I told.”
“But you did lie to me, Jayden,” he muttered, his voice edged with sadness.
“That’s what I want to talk about—the reason I lied to you. I only had a few moments to make my rash decision. I didn’t have time to think it through properly. Don’t you realize I’d been caught completely off-guard by Jedd? After we’d had such a wonderful day together, I wasn’t expecting to face him in the bathroom. Did you consider how I felt when I saw Jedd and he cornered me in the bathroom, and what went through my mind? I don’t think you understand how much fear I felt when I heard Jedd threaten to hurt you and Ellis. I acted out of fear because I wanted to do everything I could to protect you and our friends. Edward, I lied because I was trying to protect the people I love. I had to come up with a plausible excuse to break-up with you, but you saw through it anyway because deep down you know how much I love you. I realize now I’ve been such a fool. I should’ve told you the truth straight away and we should have called the police, but I hope you can understand that I did what I did because I didn’t want anything to happen to you.” I paused to draw breath, gather my thoughts, and to give Edward some time to respond at last.
“I understand that now, babe, but I think it was the words you chose to use that hurt me more than you lying to me.” Edward’s eyes watered again as he spoke.
“I’m so sorry I said those things. I can’t say that enough. The look on your face almost broke my heart as I said them to you.” My heart rate increased as I recalled the pain I’d caused him and how I had felt at the thought of us breaking up.
“But you were willing to end our relationship, Jay, and you hurt me even more by trying to break up with me—that I can’t understand, sweetheart.”
“I didn’t want to end our relationship, but I thought it was the only way to protect you.” I leaned in to give him a quick kiss to calm him down as I could see he was getting upset again. “Thank you for calling Seb and Ellis and putting them in potential danger for me. I truly appreciate that things could have gone differently, but you didn’t know what would happen. You could have put their lives in danger.”
“They have always been willing to protect me. Do you really think Jedd would have stood a chance against the two of them?”
I acknowledged he was right. “I know they are well-built and strong, but Jedd could have had a weapon. You didn’t know for certain he didn’t.”
“Well, let’s just be grateful that no one ended up in hospital. Is that all you wanted to discuss?” he said, with a look of hope in his beautiful eyes as he stroked my cheek.
I’m sure Edward could almost read my mind. He knew there was more. I braced myself for what I thought would be the trickiest part of our conversation.
“Edward… I know you were upset with the manner and words I chose to try to end our relationship, but… why didn’t you stay in your room and wait to see how I was when the whole drama had ended?” I expressed what had truly been bothering me and searched Edward’s face for some sign of remorse or understanding. “Did you not think that I needed your support and comfort after facing Jedd? Did you have any idea how I was feeling after I’d been scared out of my mind?”
Edward considered my words and was waiting for me to get everything off my chest in one go.
“I know you were upset, but I was upset too, Edward.” I knew I was repeating myself, but I wanted him to understand how I’d been feeling.
The redness in his eyes had faded a little and seemed to be taking on an almost turquoise hue. I tried not to let his beauty distract me. The thought of looking deep into Edward’s eyes as we made love flashed through my mind and sent a pleasurable curling sensation fluttering across the pit of my belly.
I reprimanded myself and focused on what I knew I needed to voice.
“You’re the strong and supportive one in our relationship and I appear to be the weak girly one,” I admitted aloud as boldly as I could.
Edward shook his head, disagreeing with me, but he let me continue.
“Yes, I am, Edward. Look how I behaved in the hot air balloon and at the top of the climbing wall yesterday. You took control, you sorted everything out for me, just as you did this afternoon when I was too scared to face up to Jedd. But then what did you do? You left me all by myself when I probably needed you most. Why didn’t you stick around to see how I was?” My voice quivered with emotion as I recalled my feelings from this afternoon. “You fought for me and then you just seemed to give up and disappeared with Seb. What did he say to you? Did you actually try to stick up and defend me or did you let Seb and Ellis persuade you I was in the wrong and no good for you after all?” I finally got everything off my chest that had been bugging me.
Edward closed his eyes for a few brief seconds, and as he opened them, he took in a deep breath. I thought he was going to lose his temper because I’d pushed him too far. His voice came out in a hushed whisper, “Ellis warned me from the start. He said you would break my heart.”
Edward’s words sent a chill through me. He was going to break up with me after all. And I was going to be the one responsible because of my selfish behavior. I wanted to slap myself for not keeping my thoughts quiet. My heart was pounding in my chest as I awaited his final words to me.
Edward nervously played with my fingers and started to speak, “Jay, I was the weak one this afternoon not you. I was falling to pieces after all the things you said to me. I couldn’t keep it together any longer and I didn’t want you to see me so fragile and vulnerable. I want to be strong and there for you, babe. I knew you were safe but didn’t have the strength or courage to face you afterwards. I didn’t want you to see me like this. I’m so sorry.”
“Did you say to Ellis or Seb you didn’t want to speak to me?” I asked him because I still felt there was more to this.
“No, I just wanted some time alone to think things through,” Edward said cautiously. “Why was that what Ellis said?”
I nodded, not really wanting Edward and Ellis to fall out again over me.
Edward cursed something about Ellis interfering again under his breath that I didn’t quite catch.
I didn’t feel Ellis was to blame for Edward deserting me this afternoon. He had been with Seb when I entered his room and that was what was truly bothering me now. Seb had been the one comforting Edward when it should have been me. I felt the bile of jealousy rising up again. If we didn’t sort this out now, it threatened to become an issue in our future relationship, if we had one.
“So who persuaded you to come back here?” I persisted.
“No one, Jay. I decided myself. What are you implying?”
“You ran to Seb rather than me. Did you think Seb could comfort you better than I could?”
“Jay, I didn’t run to Seb. He just brought me home.” Edward’s voice was loud now.
“Well, it looked like he was doing a good job of soothing you,” I spat jealously back at him. “If I hadn’t walked in, God knows what you two would have been doing by now.”
“What the fuck?” Edward shouted, making me jump. “Is that what’s making you so mad? You think I still have something going on with Seb and you don’t trust me?” His voice sounded angry.
“I want to know the truth, so tell me now, please,” I pleaded. “Did he turn you against me? Is that why you didn’t stay to see if I was okay or do you feel more for him than you care to admit?” Deep down I knew I was clutching at straws and being totally unreasonable.
Edward growled. “Seb didn’t make me do anything. He was there for me in the months after I was attacked. He was the one who stopped me falling apart and going to pieces. He helped me live again. I can’t ever forget what he did for me. He showed me affection and kindness and he taught me about the good things in a relationship. And he is still here for me now.”
Anger and jealously rolled uncontrollably through my body. “Why don’t you go running back to Seb then if he’s everything you want?” I snarled and stood up intending to leave for good. “I might as well just go now,” I blurted out and my eyes watered immediately.
Edward grabbed my wrist and pulled me onto his lap.
“Jay, please don’t break up with me,” he said, holding me firmly in place. “I think you are being unreasonable about Seb. That’s how it was before I met you. You have taken Seb’s place and my feelings for you are so much more than they ever were or ever will be for Seb. Please believe me, honey. I have no intention of asking Seb to make love to me. I only want you.” He leaned in close to my face and kissed my cheek. “Trust me, babe, Seb and Aiden have a solid relationship. Seb and I are just friends now,” he whispered into the shell of my ear causing a shiver to run down my spine. “I know I’ve failed you this time, but I promise I will never fail you again.”
Our lips met softly at first and probably said so much more about our feelings than any words we could voice. Our tongues touched and slid against the other in a heated frenzy. I could feel Edward’s hardening erection against my thigh and I groaned into his mouth as my cock pulsed into life too. It was Edward who eventually pulled away first this time.
“What you did this afternoon proves you love me, Jay. But I already knew that and you coming here and not giving up on me means more to me than you can imagine. You were willing to end our relationship to protect me even though you knew you would be hurting afterwards. But what still hurts me was that you were prepared to allow me to suffer all alone without you. I’d rather die than live without you. Don’t you understand that’s how much you mean to me? I don’t think you realize this and that’s what hurts me the most. You thought I could just carry on and live as if you never existed or ever come into my life. I want you to know how much I need you and love you.”
By the time we’d both fully expressed our thoughts and feelings, I was feeling raw yet at the same time loved so much. We held each other tightly and kissed a while longer, resisting taking it any further although we both seemed desperate for more contact.
It was getting late by the time we decided to make our way downstairs. I prepared myself to face the other guys and was pleased that they were all in the living room. At least I could get this out of the way tonight and not have to drag any confrontation out until the following day. They all looked anxious and a little tense, but I didn’t experience the chill I’d encountered earlier. They spotted that Edward and I were holding hands and their eyes darted between us as they tried to assess our situation. The fact that Edward was sporting a huge grin also seemed to warm the atmosphere considerably.
I decided to speak first as I felt I owed them all an apology for my behavior. “Ellis, Seb, I want to say thank you for rushing over to protect Edward this afternoon. I really appreciate you risking your own safety for him and tackling Jedd. I’m sorry you had to do that because of me. I hope you can forgive me for hurting Edward.”
Ellis came up to me, shaking his head, and gave me a big bear hug, even though my hand remained firmly in Edward’s grip. “I’m so glad you two are still together,” he said. “Edward would have been insufferable if you’d split up.” He beamed at me and playfully punched Edward’s upper arm.
Seb looked serious but he acknowledged my apology and magnanimously accepted my thanks. “As I said the other day, you two are meant to be together. Always.”
Aiden, who was sitting next to him, pulled Seb closer, gave him a kiss and then flashed us a grin. “I’m happy for you both.”
“He’s not going to get rid of me that easily,” I tried to joke.
Ryan kept quiet as usual, but Zachary and Jack seemed to have come round and appeared relieved that everything had sorted itself out. Jack teased about coming after me if I ever hurt Edward again and deep down I think he meant it.
“Don’t see me as the bad guy, please,” I said seriously to them all. “I know I lied to Edward, but I did it to protect him as well as you guys. I’m here now and I promise I’m not going to leave him or hurt him again.” Edward wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed me on the side of my head. He hummed contentedly and I could almost feel his grin.
Before anyone else could speak, Edward announced, “I’m going to drive Jay back now as it’s getting late.” He tugged at my arm, pulling me towards the front door. I quickly bid everyone goodnight. They all rolled their eyes and gave us knowing looks. My face flushed with embarrassment, wondering what Edward was thinking. He gave me a gorgeous smile, and my heart and cock lurched towards him.
When we got to his Volvo, Edward wrapped his arms around me and whispered in my ear, “Jay, can I spend the night with you? You may not want to make love to me yet, but I want to be with you, sweetheart. And I don’t think I can wait any longer.”